From sink to sea, study reveals how microplastic travels to River Mandovi

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Panaji: The wastewater generating from the homes, commercial establishments, market area and even vessels used for entertainment purpose or casino in Panaji contribute for the abundance of microplastic in River Mandovi and eventually the Arabian Sea, a study has pointed out.

A study conducted by CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) has investigated the microplastics (MPs) levels in wastewaters and their potential risks to the ecosystem within the expanse of Goa.

The study titled “Unraveling the land-based discharge of microplastics from sewers to oceans – A comprehensive study and risk assessment in wastewaters of Goa” has been published in the Science of the Total Environment Journal. The researchers have said that the discharge of MPs into the coastal waters assumes the role of a precursor for the presence of MPs in the coastal environment of Goa.

The study has concluded that the urban wastewater exhibited significant amounts of MPs in the size range of 100-300 microns mainly comprising fibres. Also the source identification study carried by the researchers have found polymeric signatures of personal care products (PCPs) and Washing Machine Effluents (WMEs) were prevalent in the wastewater.

The study has observed that the polymers in the wastewaters indicated a clear signature of the contribution of PCPs since they contain the same polymers.

“Similarly, microfibres recovered from WMEs share similarities with microfibers identified in wastewater samples. This underscores the role of wastewater as a distinct point source for impelling estuarine contamination encircling the environments of Panjim City,” the study has mentioned.

The research was led by Principal Scientist Dr. Mahua Saha (CSIR-NIO) and other researchers Chayanika Rathore, Aniket Desai, Priyansha Gupta, Akshata Naik, Haritha Yespal Subha from CSIR-NIO, Goa and Jacob de Boer from Virj University, Neterlands.
The paper has mentioned that the finding confirms land-based origins in wastewater significantly contribute to MP pollution and their potential risks to the ecosystem and eventually to human health via seafood, thus confirming their hypothesis covering a knowledge gap about the pathways from source to sink.

This study was first to provide a snapshot information that illustrates the substantial influence of MPs in wastewater and their transmission to receiving coastal waters.
“Hence, this study has the capacity to make a meaningful contribution to a particular objective outlined in Sustainable Development Goal 6 (specifically SDG 6.3),” the researchers have said.

This goal aims “to comprehend global wastewater generation, reduce pollution, eliminate dumping, minimize the release of hazardous substances, cut the proportion of untreated wastewater, and significantly enhance global recycling and safe reuse efforts” the study elaborated.

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